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Our next step in News blogging

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Giles Wilson Giles Wilson | 14:54 UK time, Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Ten years ago this week, an understated revolution started at the BBC News website. It was then, with a general election campaign under way, that Nick Robinson started writing a column on the site. Nick was then in a role which meant he kept popping up on BBC News 24 once or twice an hour to report and explain the twists and turns of the day in Westminster. His new online column was designed to be a bit like that - snippets of information, bits of analysis, even possibly inconsequential observations. It took a bit of a leap of faith on Nick's part to agree to take part, not least because it was extra work for no extra reward, but also because the internet was much more of a minority sport in those days. Fortunately I managed to persuade him that it was worth a go.

Screenshot of The Campaign Today with Nick Robinson

The idea became The Campaign Today with Nick Robinson, and looking back at those pages today makes me feel that it actually stands up pretty well. We didn't know if this new format, which was loosely based on the pioneering blogs of the time, would be a diary column, or breaking news, or end-of-day analysis or running commentary - or all of them. But it went down well and later in 2001 Nick Robinson's Newslog was born.

The role blogging has played in news coverage over the past 10 years has been much talked about - we know of at least one thesis which is being written on how we do it here at the BBC - but it's hard to imagine our website without the voices of our Pestons, Flanders, Mardells, Eastons, and yes, Robinsons, with many more besides. The contribution of analysis and explanation the experts of BBC News now make to the site is undoubtedly one of our major strengths. The reason for mentioning this now is that, as we promised earlier this year, this week we are completing what we see as a pretty fundamental reinvention of how our blogs operate.

For some time we've been frustrated that the contributions of our key editors feel like they are tucked away on the site - more number 13 court than Centre Court - and so one thing we decided to do was to start producing their blogs in our main production system. For the past six years they have been created in Movable Type, a specialist blog software, which is why the pages look different to our news pages. This shift promises us extra efficiency and flexibility, and we hope that it will make our top correspondents' analysis feel much more like an integral part of the website.

Screenshot of correspondent text box analysis

There will, of course, be some changes. The design and navigation are very different. The text will look more like normal news stories or features. But the content will be the same. Nick & co will still each have their own page, and these will still operate like blog indexes, with the newest entry at the top. You can see how it looks with Mark Mardell's page here which has already moved over to the new design. And part of the plan is to make these new pages the place where you can follow a particular correspondent, whatever form of journalism they are producing. So we plan over the next few weeks to incorporate correspondents' tweets, if they have them, into their pages, along with some of their reports in audio and video, and also where they add "text box" contributions to news stories (see right). We hope that, together, these will make a compelling and new way to follow a story or subject.

There are also changes to the way comments will work, as a result of the introduction of comments on stories across the wider site (social media editor Alex Gubbay explained some of the changes here). With some news stories each day having comments on them, there may be times when a story and correspondent's analysis cover the same subject. To avoid unnecessary duplication and even confusion, generally we will seek to have comments on one or the other. So correspondents' pieces may not always include comments. In addition, in our new system, comments have a maximum length of 400 characters. It's my view that this makes for sharper contributions, though I know some disagree. As with all new developments on the site, however, it's something we watch closely to see if it's working.

Perhaps though the biggest advantage of the changes I've outlined is that it will be much easier for us to include our correspondents' articles wherever people access BBC News - mobile phones, for example, and also in apps. And - we hope - also on devices which will have been invented by the time another 10 years rolls around.

Update, 12:19, 12 May: Thanks for your comments so far. We're working through putting all the new pages live at the moment, but we are taking note of what you are saying - particularly so far about the changes to comments, RSS and the character of blogs. I'll be putting together some responses and will post them here.

Update, 17:50, 13 May: Thank you again for your comments, both on this post and on several of our bloggers' new pages.  The issue of comment length is clearly one that exercises many of you. In my original post I said I thought a character limit made for sharper comments, and I do believe that, but I also want to emphasise that it's certainly not our intention to encourage people to dumb down their contributions, as some of you fear. Others say that the changes will make debate harder. As Jan Keeskop says, my colleague Alex Gubbay did spell out our thinking about comments when he said that "this process is essentially about us online focusing more now on encouraging discussion around our content itself, rather than looking to host or manage a community". We are trying to maximise the editorial value of contributions but we do not have unlimited resources to do this. Since it's less efficient to moderate longer comments than shorter ones, length is one of the factors we are taking into account. Making these changes is not an exact science. It is something we are keeping under review, though, so please don't think that your complaints have gone unnoticed.

Changes to the RSS feeds are something I should have mentioned earlier, and I apologise for not doing so. Whereas we previously offered full text feeds of blogs, the RSS feed of the new pages is headline and summary only. I recognise that this is clearly an issue for lots of people, and is frustrating to those who have been using our feeds. The change is an unintended consequence of moving into our main production system, which does not automatically export full text feeds. We are looking at the issue and I hope to be able to come back to you with more detail.

Thank you to those who have made points about how the new page format works - the feedback is useful. We're trying to do something new with these pages, preserving the best of the blog environment while recognising that there is lots more going on with our key journalists than just their blogs. There are also more places that we want their content to reach - more platforms and more devices - and that is one of our reasons for making these changes. There will be more functionality rolling out in the next few weeks, with tweets, videos, and analysis text boxes on news stories being included; development of these pages is by no means finished. It has, however, been cheering to notice examples already where the new format seems to be working effectively, for example Mark Mardell's post here or Jonathan Amos’s post here.  

Update, 08:40, 17 June: Thanks again for your comments, and my apologies for not getting back sooner. One of the points made by several commenters was that, aside from comment length, the layout of comments on our new blogs did not encourage discussion since it showed comments with most recent first. It was therefore difficult for people to follow the debate from the beginning. I'm happy to report that since the start of this week, comments on our new blogs are now shown with the oldest comment first, meaning it should now be much easier for discussion to take place.

Giles Wilson is the features editor of the BBC News website.

Comments

Page 1 of 7

  • Comment number 1.

    ....though I know some disagree...
    I believe everyone outside the BBC disagrees - but that's BBC arrogance for you.

    See BBC News to News Corp. I want my money back.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Will http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/correspondents be altered so that it provides a list of news correspondents instead of a 404 error page?

  • Comment number 4.

    'Twas inevitable. The BBC no doubt considers it is there to hand out template opinions and analyses, and not to provide a public platform for anyone else to put forward carefully reasoned alternatives.

    There are many points that just cannot be made in 400 characters.

    Nor, given the format and moderation time, is it convenient for contributors to debate with one another, nor follow an individual's comments from one post to another.

    Perhaps the BBC felt it needed to act, given that some of its positions are hardly, shall we say, beyond challenge, perhaps sometimes embarrassingly so?

    Never mind, there are other sites.

  • Comment number 5.

    Could the rss feed for the blog entries on the new page please be full text rather than just the headline? This is how the old blogs were but not how the Mark Mardell page is set up.

  • Comment number 6.

    I thought the whole purpose of a blog was to be immediate and re-active. After waiting half an hour to have my earlier comment 'pre-moderated' there still seems to be a deafening silence. Do the BBC editors actually follow or even read the comments made on their own blogs or do they simply write what they think and only have a comment section because some spotty youth in marketing suggested that's what the kidz are into these days?

  • Comment number 7.

    Perhaps I can start by describing what it was that made the BBC blogs distinctive in their old (2009 / 2010) format? The reader was consistently presented with well written articles from your best journalists. These were often written in a manner intended to engender comments that led to intelligent debate from many points of view, intermingled with the usual comedy and weird postings of the minority (that were generally well moderated, sometimes over zealously moderated). The physical layout was simple and clear. Posters could almost write an essay if they wanted to, and many did. The quality was usually good with well thought out arguments. Each of your journalists appeared to have comments from both their own regular posters and more general passers by. Have you ever read one of these threads all the way through to see what your blogs bring to the contributors and readers and the degree of informed debate, and discussed it with your journalists and editors such as Robert Peston for example?

    I can understand some of the thinking in the new format, especially the common design features that bring the pages into line with the general news pages. There are however serious problems.

    Now to the new pages from the users point of view. The small character limit can only encourage tittle tattle over considered postings. It seems that you are aiming for the tabloid mentality rather than towards The Times letter page. Unfortunately I think this is the end of intelligent BBC blogs. I have been registered and commented for a long time and this is a real dumbing down that disappoints me. If your journalists read the comments that are posted to their articles I expect they will also be disappointed with the likely lower quality due to the simplicity of what they see.

  • Comment number 8.

    continued

    As well as those points regarding content I am surprised, considering how much the BBC has achieved in accessibility for the web, that the new format has less legible comments text presented in small grey boxes that do nothing for the legibility of the page. This is certainly a backward step.

    I am not alone in my views. I suggest you look at all the comments here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13291626 and here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-13291547 for a representative sample.

    The end of intelligent debate on BBC News blogs? Unfortunately I think this is so. You appear to have chosen a standard format that is like the Daily Mail comments page, Yahoo News and similar. A sad time for BBC blogs. You appear to have chosen not to be distinctive in form or substance.

    In summary the old format encouraged debate, the new format is just comment. That is why comment is for articles and debate is for opinion pieces.

  • Comment number 9.

    Another user brought regular bloggers attention to the BBC's own guidelines that suggested that the old system was more "on message":
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2011/05/a_new_home_for_mardells_americ.html?postId=108622180#comment_108622180

  • Comment number 10.

    I have to agree with @Eddie from Waring: "There are other sites." The delay for moderation makes impossible to have any meaningful discourse at all. Maybe that is the reason for it. I, for one, won't be back anytime soon.

  • Comment number 11.

    I also have a couple of emails from your correspondents. They do not seem convinced themselves so far.

    I respect that these were personal emails so cannot name names.

  • Comment number 12.

    It would appear that these changes to the blogs are not gaining approval Giles.One
    assumes that despite being uncalled for and unwanted the BBC will ignore all such
    protests and steam ahead.Blogs that I have enjoyed I no longer bother to access as
    the new format is inferior.As we are obliged to pay a license fee on pain of inprisonment our views should be paramount.

  • Comment number 13.

    Can I ask who has asked for the limitation on contributions? I suggest that all of us that contribute enjoy the space to make our points and to see ripostes from our peers.

    This is dumbing-down, pure and simple, and is pandering to the Twitterati. I can't believe I am saying this, but who do you think you work for? If your customers/clients are happy with the product i.e. these blogs, why do you feel the need to change them?

    If we are only allowed 400 characters, then so should all of your writers and journalists. On TV as well. See how you get on.

    I am a huge supporter of the BBC but this leaves me fuming. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

  • Comment number 14.

    You say 'our next step' as if suggesting it is an improvement!

    Looking at Mark Mardell's blog, this is a most unwelcome development.

    One of the advantages of the current style of blogs is that you can quickly read other people's comments and respond to them. This new style makes interaction between people much more difficult.

    This is a change for change's sake. No thanks!

    It aint broke, so leave it alone!

  • Comment number 15.

    Truthfully, the blogs really help people from other countries connect with United Kingdom and Europe, they help bring us together by discussing our feelings and thoughts, sometimes extended, but aren't words beautiful?
    What about our future poets and writers?

    Imagine if there was a limit on words for Shakespeare!

    I am an American and I don't know any other websites that have worldly blogs like the BBC that attract so many people froma round the world, I have learned a lot about UK and Europe from BBC's website, especially the blogs where I have also talked to people from Russia, Egypt, India, Austraila and other countries that I could not do otherwise...

    Now things will change and with it, so will we...

    Overall, BBC's blogs have brought people togehter, they have been a positivity to this world..they have shown us that there is hope for humanity...

    But the new-age short Twitter/yahoo style blogs will only shorten the conversation, thus lessening the connection between UK and other countries' citizens who have no other way to connect to your country except tv, which is at times superficial and cannot compare to hearing a person's direct extended thoughts...

    I don't understand why BBC can't have both styles of blogs?

  • Comment number 16.

    The new format is a completely retrograde step, akin to the populist scribblings on the Express or Mail websites, but even more unusable.
    The convoluted method prevents its use for following (and contributing) to debate in a chronological and rational way.
    Coupled with the text limit, it is the death knell of intelligent (and global) debate.
    Shame on you Beeb!

  • Comment number 17.

    The new format is totally rubbish - I no longer go there. I will leave this style of blog as well when you change it over.

  • Comment number 18.

    Oh, and another thing - you may as well sack your editors as well because the change will lose interest for them.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 20.

    Thank you for putting up this explanation of changes in your Comment facility.
    Some 'sharpening' is evident, but so are the very predictable losses.
    I would endorse the sharper comments here, and I would ask you to consider the longer contribution of Kit Green (7) as exemplifying the quality under threat.
    I hope that 'old quality' can be preserved alongside your new features. Thanks.

  • Comment number 21.

    I am Russian. I agree with the American lady, @15.

    See, BBC, what have you done? ;lo)))) Russians whole-heartely agree with Americans.

    That's the final result of your blogs.

    And now? Cried the raven nevermore? :o)

  • Comment number 22.

    Giles:

    I’m the one who wrote the comment which Kit Green linked to in post 9 above. For the sake of being complete, Part 1 is here, Part 2 is here, and I suppose that this comment will become Part 3.

    I appreciate the link which you had included to Alex Gubbay’s article, Comments and making our coverage more social, as I had not previously read it. This snippet from that article seems to sum up the reason for the blog change, which I had sought after in Part 2:

    This process is essentially about us online focusing more now on encouraging discussion around our content itself, rather than looking to host or manage a community.


    I think that what might have been overlooked (or perhaps considered and rejected) by your social media team, is that the social component of your content is already present in full flower — in the communities of each contributor’s commenters. By seeking to divest yourself of these communities of commenters, you are in fact making your coverage less social.

    When I sat down to consider just what it was that made the old blog format desirable and the new blog format undesirable, I came up with a single word: conviviality.

    The old format promotes conviviality — “withlifèdness”, to use plainer Anglo-Saxon roots. The old format comes with life. Even if one completely disagrees with another commenter, one can at least mull over the reasoning which was provided with that view, and perhaps conclude “OK, I still disagree with him, but I can see where he’s coming from” — and you still would like to share a bottle of something with him, if ever you met.

    The new format, in contrast, comes across as lifeless, sterile, clinical — what happens when one ruthlessly winnows out subtle shades of meaning so that a point of view can be shoehorned into a vacuum-packed box of 400 characters. Without room to provide explanations, the new format becomes something closer to a televised political debate, where the focus is not on understanding another point of view, but on being right, on scoring points against the other. As other commenters have noted, there is no lack of sites which provide such comment forums; the appeal of the old blog format at the BBC was precisely that it was not such a forum. Had the new format been in place when I first visited the BBC, I would not have become a commenter; should the new format completely replace the old format, I shall no longer be a commenter.

    One can see in the links which Kit Green provided in post 8, not only the many commenters who view the new format as representing a loss rather than a gain, but also those commenters who are trying to preserve the conviviality of the old format by making several consecutive posts in the new blogs, in what previously would have been a single post’s comment. I can only recommend that these voices not be ignored. They are speaking plainly and clearly; are you listening to them?

  • Comment number 23.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 24.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 25.

    Although in the past I often have seen many of the comments posted on the BBC site as being a representative sample of the collective insanity of humanity (as represented by the hive-mind of the web), or an opportunity for the bigots on the margins of society to monopolise it, I disagree with the decision to reduce comments to 400 characters. (I've reached 383 characters already.)

    400 characters is not many, and not many are able to be succinct and precise in their statements.

    I would prefer it if comments continued to be as long as the author wished.

    I don't care one whit if the journalist that produce an article didn't read the comments placed underneath (I wouldn't, not least because of constraints of time) but those that do comment do value the opportunity; value the engagement of ideas (I have had my mind changed by the occasional argument) and the freedom to develop an argument.

    No we're not professional writers,; some ramble, some rant and and rave, some are obsessive; everyone has a pet love or hate, many have prejudices and ride their own hobby horses, others rant and rail against life and society; this is a public square.

    For many this is their only opportunity to engage in some form of political or social discourse with others.

    Please continue to allow us free discourse in comments, whilst maintaining a minimum standard of politeness and courtesy.

  • Comment number 26.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 27.

    Mr. Wilson,

    If you haven't already, let me suggest you read "The Peter Principle". I think it is operative here.

  • Comment number 28.

    Aside from the new character limit, I find the new format extremely counterintuitive and clumsy to use.

    Why are the posts displayed in reverse chronological order? Why do I have to go hunting for the LAST page to start reading the thread from the beginning?

    Why are the posts on a page displayed with the oldest at the bottom, meaning one has to scroll UP?

    Why are the page selection controls located at the bottom of the page of posts? If, in order to read the posts in the correct order, I must start at the BOTTOM and scroll up to the TOP, why must I go all the way back to the bottom again to go to the next page? In the older format, for blogs that had multiple pages of posts, page selectors were at both the bottom and top of the posts section, why not now?

    Finally, if all the above issues dealing with posts being displayed in reverse order were dealt with, perhaps the page selector controls could be simplified to "Previous 1 2 3 4 ... Next", just like on every other website on the web, instead of "Older" and "Newer".

    Not really sure how this design, which reverses every real-world reading experience, as well as the de-facto standards for pretty much every blog and forum on the web, got the "Yes, this works well. Let's go with it.".

  • Comment number 29.

    You may like the look of the new blogs, and other aspects of them, but in my opinion you have ruined the comments section, which used to be an interesting forum on the America blog. I expect I will move to The Economist.

  • Comment number 30.

    Are RSS feeds working on these new blogs?

  • Comment number 31.

    Such as shame to have taken something which worked and now decided to break it.
    I enjoy these blogs and the many discussions on differing topics. Mardells has become virtually unreadable and the comments not worth bothering with, when something works just leave it alone.

    If you have too many staff in the IT part with nothing to do then sack them instead rather than fiddle with something that didn't need fiddling with.

  • Comment number 32.

    I have previously stated and will state again that I stand with the dissenting opinion, for the reasons stated in #7, 8, 22, and 28. I strongly urge the BBC to reconsider this decision.

  • Comment number 33.

    It's difficult to quote and reply to another poster. Increase the limit to at least 1000 chars or more and it should still be ok (you could add a >more option that doesn't initially display all the text). Also, increase the number of visible comments or make this selectable. Imagine normal BBC output fragmented in this way. Note the long comment with multiple quotes referenced in Kit Green's comment #9 could not have been posted in this new format.

  • Comment number 34.

    One problem I've noticed with correspondent blogs that have converted is that there doesn't appear to be any link to old blog posts. For example http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/gavinhewitt/ automatically redirects to http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/correspondents/gavinhewitt/ and there doesn't appear to be a link to view the old blog entries.

  • Comment number 35.

    I don't expect the BBC to take much notice as when a new system is introduced the proposers see it as prestige and their baby, in this case it has been a very much retrograde step. For many reasons you have upset a large percentage of regular contributors and there is already at least one competitive blog that has been set up in response and another is being looked at, and that's from the people I know.

    The design of the new format is abysmal, you may like tweeting but most do not, it is the same with facebook, you may consider inane short comments to be the order of the day but I like many others find it low grade and I leave it to my kids mostly.

    I left the UK HYS because it was like the new format and like many I'm frustrated to revert to a low grade poor excuse for a blog, if you use common sense and logic you should hold a post implementation post mortem and decide to reverse the move. This does sometimes happen as I've been in a few project meeting PM's where that has been decided.

  • Comment number 36.

    "There are many points that just cannot be made in 400 characters."

    Then write a blog post, and provide a link with a summary. That's the way the internet works.

    Comments should be just that: comments. Not essays.

  • Comment number 37.

    # 28 cms0721 wrote:

    "Aside from the new character limit, I find the new format extremely counterintuitive and clumsy to use."

    Etc

    I agree wholeheartedly.



  • Comment number 38.

    36. At 09:56am 12th May 2011, EvilMole wrote:
    "There are many points that just cannot be made in 400 characters."

    Then write a blog post, and provide a link with a summary. That's the way the internet works.

    Comments should be just that: comments. Not essays.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I think the internet should adapt to what humans want, not the other way round.

    What is the generally agreed length for a "comment"?

    What is that of an "essay"?

    Is the "say" that we're invited to have a comment or an essay?


  • Comment number 39.

    OK, you asked for it. The new format has relegated the authoritative blog to the status of a chat room. The limit of 400 characters has reduced erudite and intelligent comment to the level of bite sized chunks, we are no longer able to use html mark up but I guess the coding would be treated as characters anyway, I have been unable to update my RSS feeds since the new system came on stream, the new editors choice function is clearly bot generated because I have noticed multiple posts, which are presumably intended to overcome the character limit end up being split up and, as a result, part comments appear as choices. View all produces revers chronology making for unnecessary scrolling, links to other blogs have more or less disappeared linking only to those on the new system - currently Hewitt and Mardell, the column is too narrow, the font too small. Another correspondent has described this as one step forwards and six steps backwards. I am sure that the horrible mess we ended up in when we stepped backwards was not there when we were on a forward projectory. Albsolutey horrible.

  • Comment number 40.

    On many issues an in depth response cannot be limited to 400 characters the blogs will be reduced to petty point scoring and no real depth of discussion will be possible. In amongst the normal banter on the political blogs there are some good informative posts.

    I am guessing this post will be over 300 characters by time I have finished – no time to get started on a comprehensive discussion.

  • Comment number 41.

    Just tried out Mardell's blog apparently spaces are counted as characters, so my #40 was over 400 characters.

    Are we to be reduced to text speak - grown up discussion needs at least double this number of characters.

  • Comment number 42.

    Could the new RSS feeds send the text of the article as the old feeds did, instead of just containing a snippet and a link to the article on the web site?

    Also, on the web site could you add the "previous" and "next" links as in the old site.

  • Comment number 43.

    I'm confused - all my favourite BBC RSS/Atom feeds are publishing "All Change" and "Moving" messages, but the new pages don't seem to be RSS enabled - what are the feed addresses?

    I'm sure I originally subscribed by clicking the the RSS icon in the Firefox toolbar when it found a feed linked to a page - is this no longer part of Firefox? Or is it a BBC problem?

  • Comment number 44.

    I'd like to agree with Alex@4 to request that the RSS feeds contain the full text of the article, like the current blog platform allows. I use a single RSS reader (Google Reader in my case) for all my news and comment and get quite annoyed when I'm taken out of that environment because the text isn't available.

    I also agree with others that 400 characters is too few for a thoughtful, analytical comment or a complex subject.

  • Comment number 45.

    An update to my last: apparently Firefox 4 has moved the RRS icon into the Bookmarks menu, but across the new blogs "Subscribe to this page" is greyed out, so there is obviously no RSS or Atom feed associated.

    Secondly, are all the old blog posts being transferred into the new format? It seems that direct links to blog posts work, but the "Main" link at the top of each page now links to the new page, meaning it's impossible to see a list of all old posts excepts through the old feeds.

  • Comment number 46.

    Found it! The "Subscribe to The Editors" box has been replaced with a tiny "RSS" link hidden in the page header but which isn't picked up by browsers (well, my version of Firefox)

    So, it looks like Atom has been abandoned in favour of an "SXML" format. For those that want it, the addresses take the form www.bbc.co.uk/news/correspondents/rorycellanjones/rss.sxml

  • Comment number 47.

    44. At 13:01pm 12th May 2011, Raj wrote:
    I'd like to agree with Alex@4 to request that the RSS feeds contain the full text of the article, like the current blog platform allows.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I expect you are being forced to go to the web page so that you are counted as a hit for the advertising statistics. I believe that part of the redesign is to make room for advertising on the right hand side (for territories outside the UK).
    Hopefully there will be enough revenue from this to pay for a good debate based blogging platform in the (hopefully very near) future.

  • Comment number 48.

    I'm apparently one of the few (posting) fans of the new concept.

    A lot of the feedback covers two fairly separate issues, which aren't really about the new combined correspondent pages:
    1) Page format - this stems from last year's news site redesign really - I'm glad it's all going to be consistently in the new design, but certainly there are good suggestions as to potential improvements overall.
    2) Comments module - not being a massive user of this, I'll bow to others' expertise, but again I'm glad at least it'll be consistent although it could be improved. The character limit seems too low though, I'm sure I couldn't post this in the new format. Also, I think the number and placement of links to comments is excessive - I'd prefer the one at the top of the page to be up with the 'Share' links/count, while the one at the foot of the article seems unnecessary as the comments are right below.

    In terms of the implementation, however, my feedback is:
    - I love the concept of grouping of all of a correspondent's work (articles, blogs, videos, tweets) in one place, so well done.
    - Please don't duplicate the correspondent's photo and links (at the top AND bottom of the article) - once is sufficient (although maybe the name and photo at top (although under the headline, surely?) then the 'more' with other recent links at the end).

  • Comment number 49.

    +1 for full text in RSS feeds please. (or a "full-text" RSS/Atom alternative)

    Not everyone enjoys the "browser" experience. It's the text and perhaps a couple of relevant pictures we want, not a page full of other links, banners, and eye candy.

    Let's hope this is just an oversight, not driven by a "hit counter" mentality

  • Comment number 50.

    In addition to overhauling the design, I think you should consider reviewing and if necessary restating the remit of each blogger. A case in point: the "North America" editor, Mark Mardell, is only blogging about the USA. No sign of Canada or the US, except perhaps for on bilateral issues such as border control.

  • Comment number 51.

    50 comments so far and only one in favour of the new change.

    Not that I am expecting the BBC to bow to public opinion.

    However, to claim (as is currently set out in Robert Peston's blog) that this is for cost reasons is stretching the BBC credibility beyond breaking point.

    You can buy a 1TB hard disk for £50 or less. That is room for 1 billion extra characters - I think it might be enough for many years of extended blogs.

    What the BBC is doing is clearly to dumb down the blogs. I wonder how long it will be before the blogs wither away due to being extremely un-user friendly and (because of 400 character limit) banal and boring. Then I suppose there will be real cost savings because you can dispense with the blogs completely (and possibly the writers)

  • Comment number 52.

    Poor on all counts:

    Purpose: "to avoid blogs being tucked away". Doh! Tim Berners-Lee's masterstroke was hyperlinking. It's been around a while now. If you don't want the blog tucked away, link to it! (from the index page, from within a news article, from the bottom of a news article etc.)

    Purpose: "to bring output together" (as Robert Peston put it). Don't want that, thanks. Blogs, till now, have been the modern equivalent to an essay. Longer, more detailed, more argumentative, often more of an overview. Mixing blogs posts up with news stories isn't a good move. Adding news stories to the blog RSS feeds - which seems to be the result - isn't what I want; if I want a news feed, I'll subscribe to one.

    Constraints: 400 characters "for cost purposes." Others seem to assume that's storage costs. I assume it's to reduce the amount moderators have to read? In which case, why not get some (Big Society?) volunteer moderators?

    Technical execution: dire. Woeful. Just count the number of times RSS appears on this page. You could at least have got that bit right. How exactly do I find the RSS for Robert Peston's new page? And was removing the full text from the feed intentional (if so, please explain); or accidental (if so, please admit incompetence).

  • Comment number 53.

    My enjoyment of both Rory's and Maggie's blogs was purely down to the ability to write a LOT more than 400 characters. I shan't (indeed CAN'T!) be posting much here in future... shame: even with the occasional Apple/Everyone else war, it was still a lively and entertaining read. Now we're reduced to the pithy soundbite, I don't suppose we'll be seeing such informative input from readers.

    BBC, please reconsider this: we, the public, do actually like commenting on news, you know!

  • Comment number 54.

    Character limits= Too low. Even us Lurkers enjoy reading well-crafted user-generated content. Txt spk is nt gr8.

    RSS- Why only the header? Terrible decision.

    Enforced isolation- Correpondant/Editor blogs had the "Latest from BBC News blogs" panel, cross-linking the former blogs. This should be reinstated on the new "pages"

  • Comment number 55.

    Personally, I get the feeling it doesn't matter what we say. Alex Gubbay asked what we thought at the beginning of April/11, we responded with an overwhelming majority saying "don't change the format". You, the BBC, have set these changes in motion already and to revert back now would cause someone at BBC to lose face.

    The new format is awful (to say the least).

  • Comment number 56.

    53. At 14:14pm 12th May 2011, Graphis wrote:

    "...BBC, please reconsider this: we, the public, do actually like commenting on news, you know!..."

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Of course the BBC know this.

    They would also seem resolved to stop it. Doubtless they have their reasons, apart from those advanced.

  • Comment number 57.

    I thinks it is not tenable or acceptable to restrict comments to 400 characters. It offers no possibility of putting together any form of reasoned or coherent response to what has been written on the host blog. What it will encourage are the sort of "edgy" remarks that are all sound and fury, but no substance - for "edgy" read crude, rude and bitchy remarks so beloved of today's broadcasters who seem more interested in downmarket slugfests a la Jeremy Kyle than reasoned debate.

    I will still read the major bloggers, but can't see the point of commenting anymore. Presumably that's the objective - to dumb everything down to the lowest possible denominator and remove any hint of intellectual bias - bring on the great BBC Cultural Revolution, and send all those who won't comply to the blog re-education 404 pages.

    PS - will polysyllabic word usage in a blog now automatically connote counter revolutionary leanings in any who may still feel inclined to comment, and thus result in their elimination?

  • Comment number 58.

    +1 for full text RSS

    This is a real backward step, BBC.

  • Comment number 59.

    Have just used Nick Robinson's new blog site. I have to say that the whole thing is a complete dog's dinner.

    Nation shall speak peace unto nation, but the licence fee payer is not allowed to speak unto other licence fee payers. So much for democracy and freedom of speech.

    Makes you feel like giving up your TV so you don't have to pay the licence.

  • Comment number 60.

    Anyone noticed the new comment handling strips out all markup (at least all I've tried). It's no longer possible to put in hyperlinks like this"Our next step in News blogging" or use bold or italic or quote...

    Bass_Man #59:

    I have to say that the whole thing is a complete dog's dinner.


    A big backward step!

    /davblo

  • Comment number 61.

    RE your update.

    You don't listen. There were enough complaints about your revamped home page. But you didn't listen then - and I still don't use it. The new blogs DO NOT provide a satisfactory public form.

    Bye.

  • Comment number 62.

    Many of us sign off with a favourite phrase, may I suggest that we all adopt “Hate the new comments format”.

  • Comment number 63.

    Smiffie #62: "Many of us sign off with a favourite phrase,.."

    But you didn't!

    /davblo

  • Comment number 64.

    The last time that the BBC deliberately killed of something popular by dumbing down was when they got rid of the old DR Who stories.

    Hate the new comments format

  • Comment number 65.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 66.

    62. At 15:42pm 12th May 2011, Smiffie wrote:
    Many of us sign off with a favourite phrase, may I suggest that we all adopt “Hate the new comments format”.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Hate the new comments format. is 29 characters so unfortunately that is a non starter!

  • Comment number 67.

    Reading opinions above one may think the new format is not a market-driven change.
    So, there may be an internal problem, which BBC think un-elegant to share it with us.
    In the absence of data (and hint about costs already expressed) let's, may be, ask
    - How can we help you, BBC?

    Let's negotiate (like business people :o).
    (Even Clinton and was it Gorbachyov? Yeltsin? forgot) found a consensus once.

    I think I won't go wrong by summarising that the minimum requirement from the BBC followers' side is a generous allowance re post's size and not an upside-down order.

    Which means for you moderation costs and, possibly, a one-off investment into a computer programme tailor-made, written for you.
    Since you seem convinced the old platform is no good anymore, you've settled your mind on changes.
    So the new one ought to be a hybrid between the comments to News' platform (now spread to include blogs' system) and old blogs' platform.

    What about asking us if we could live with advertising appearing in a band in the bottom of every blog's page? On top of every blog's page as a band AND below every blog's page as a band? (you've noticed we like to leaf over many pages in a thread :o)

    You could shorten those pages as well - so that the audience turns over more of those pages. Just not five posts per page :o))))) But OK, not as many as before, either :o) so that we'd "leaf over" more pages than before (100?)
    What about ? off hand 50? posts per page.

    When push comes to shove :o)))) I am not sure but I may have a wild guess we'd be able to survive even with ad's "bands" appearing BETWEEN posts, from left to right, breaking the , say, 50 posts per page, in the middle.

    Every 25 posts - an ad, every 25 posts - an ad. That's Eldorado :o))))
    Provided we can have the old luxury - I am sure we'd also like BBC to have its own luxury, a fair relation, both sides happy and rich.
    J

  • Comment number 68.

    Long time lurker forced to register just to complain (what does that say about the changes right there!).

    Like all sites which change I am sure you will totally ignore all the feedback from users telling you that you've made a mistake, nevertheless it needs saying. I would be very happy - and it would be another reason to consider bbc.co.uk probably the finest site on the web - if you could just admit the changes are both wrong and motivated by something other than the stated reasons and then change back to the old system beloved of 99% of your regular visitors.

    If you insist on continuing with this misguided 'improvement' you could at least give us some meaningful reasoning as to why rather than the usual "improving the customer experience" claptrap. Particularly interesting would be a *reasoned* explanation of the limiting to 400 characters in comments - off-hand mention of costs is totally unbelievable as plenty of others have pointed out. bbc.co.uk - and especially its news service - is *not* a social network site for illiterate and emotionally crippled teenagers or company marketing teams (the illiterate and emotionally crippled comment applies to them as well as the teenagers!). The S/N ratio is (soon to be 'was') spectacularly high compared to any other site I've visited, you are going to destroy that fine position and condemn it to the inconsequentiality of every other sites' comment section with these changes.

    The lack of either automatic RSS feeds updates or easily located new feeds is unforgivable - have you decided to employ the usual idiotic web designers used by everyone else?

    Please, immediately change your mind and restore the old system. Here are a couple of 17th century quotes to remind you that there is nothing new under the sun...

    "When it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change"
    --Lucius Cary, Viscount Falkland

    "I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be
    mistaken."
    --- Oliver Cromwell

  • Comment number 69.

    Back the from book a reading tried ever you have?

    Hate the new comments format

  • Comment number 70.

    Just thinking about the 400-character limitation and realized that this is less than the equivalent of 3 tweets (3 tweets @ 140 chars = 420 chars total). Not very conducive to meaningful, thoughtful discourse.

  • Comment number 71.

    I feel that congratulations are in order. It seems that this change has managed to alienate every single person who contributes comments to the BBC Blogs. :o)

    Personally I understand the reasons that people have put forth for disliking the change and I implore those in charge to not dismiss them as meaningless noise from a disillusioned and vocal minority raging against the changes because they have little better to do.

    One or two of the changes to the current format may be beneficial, but don't let this become a case of all or nothing. Take on-board what users of this service have to say and roll back the changes that have proved the most contentious.

  • Comment number 72.

    Do we have a BBC blog record? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13376148 from Mark Easton closed after two comments!
    What is going on here?

  • Comment number 73.

    Your next step in "News Blogging" seems to be about limiting discussion of the blog and to remove the ability to quickly go between subject related blogs (e.g. Robert Pestons and Stephanie Flanders). This is seen as a progress?? I personally preferred to fact that all of the blogs were in one section of the website rather than being scattered all over the place.

    As the posts are in reverse order, it makes it harder to follow the thread of the comments.

  • Comment number 74.

    @ BBC NEWS HYS - Some of the most mind boggling questions ever. Plus questions IF you are in Libya, Spain or Florida send your comments. Obits on a regular basis. Leave your memories ... ugh.

    Moderators and house rules. 400 characters. Upside down pages of 10 - 20 comments. Slow and boring.

    If you are serious BBC check your back records of the number of comments to those now on your new format.

  • Comment number 75.

    Why not to charge for the access to the blogging platform us, "multinationals"?
    Something like? 15 dollars fee for 6 months.


    Yes, this is un-orthdox measure in the virtual world - but you happen to have a close to unique product, in high demand - why not to capitalise on it a bit, do some cream skimming (until others follow your lead :o)

    I would have sent a survey to the overseas' bloggers' e-mails' data-base, like, this and that, 7 rich years are gone (in other words :o), we are ? streamlining our expenses, dear overseas blogger we can't afford it anymore to operate a huge multi-theme discussion platform, we are currently investigating ways how to streamline our expenses with the least negative impact on those who got to love and frequent our site, since you seem to have been a frequent user, please respond which changes to the platform you would like better - A. cutting the post size to 400 characters B. changing page view to include 50 posts only, this followed and preceeded by advertising C. introducing a 10 dollar fee for usage of BBC blogs' platform during 6 months.
    Whatever.

    It is better (I think) to capitalise on the excellent service you've happened to create. even if unintentionally :o)))) But I doubt that. Than to throw it out and invent a new product.

    (This shrinking size to 400 reminds me of measures to change prices. There are four known ways - re-write the tag straightforward, start giving less quantity for the same money (smaller packages; less tooth-paste in a tube :o), start to give less quality for the same money (less cocoa in a choc), or change service conditions (1 yr guarantee instead of 2 on a note-book).

  • Comment number 76.

    Another vote for having full text RSS feeds back, please!

  • Comment number 77.

    '1. At 15:16pm 11th May 2011, OldPerson wrote:
    I want my money back.


    There's another quirk about 'unique' funding the UK public may need to grasp. No refunds, no matter what.

    This was obviously instigated by the deafening clamour for change. Not one I heard in my time here, but like so much else, deemed a 'very good thing' by a few market rate folk and imposed thanks to the absence of that troublesome free speech, voting-lark that so often rains on social-engineering parades.

    400 chars, eh? And no obvious counter. OMG, LoL 'n stuf.

    But 'we' shall adapt, I am sure. And to deal with such evolution, yet more 'changes' will be concocted to get back to the good old days when it was broadcast only, cut by thousandsth of a cut. Then, ultimately, what is issued from the BBC will again regain its 'purity', free of feedback that may not serve 'the narrative'. Especially the odd 'enhanced one' served up hereabouts where, as Jon 'AV I got news for u' Humphrys once explained, 'events' need to be 'interpreted' by the Eloi before the Morlocks are fit to cope with them.

    However, recalling the last navel-fluff gazing blogwash on 'The Editors', when the previous dog's dinner was issued and lambasted by actual users, one is pretty sure it will be hailed a triumph in some quarters.

    Or, grudgingly, deemed a 'split' as other 100:1 against efforts have been spun.

    If I have no choice in paying for it, at least I want my BBC back.

  • Comment number 78.

    B interested 2 see how... if my last comes out. Forgot 2 check nos b4 posting.

    '72. At 16:57pm 12th May 2011, Kit Green wrote What is going on here?

    Seems more now.

    But as this nu & improved 'system' shows, the aim is to attain the nirvana of NO comments.

    First they had 'off topic' and I was afraid to post.
    Then they had 'House rules' and I was afraid to post.
    Then they had 'watertight oversight' and I was afraid to post.
    And then they had pre-publication 'closed 4 comments' and there was no one left to post, even if they could.

  • Comment number 79.

    '3. At 15:24pm 11th May 2011, Keith wrote:
    Will http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/correspondents be altered so that it provides a list of news correspondents instead of a 404 error page?


    Well, evidently, having just clicked and been greeted by same, at least not for 3 hrs or so.

    They just pump 'em out. Checking back on blogs is sooooo not broadcast.

    Amazing what you don't get for £4Bpa these days.

  • Comment number 80.

    '51. At 13:56pm 12th May 2011, Justin150
    I wonder how long it will be before the blogs wither away due to being extremely un-user friendly and (because of 400 character limit) banal and boring. Then I suppose there will be real cost savings because you can dispense with the blogs completely (and possibly the writers)


    And if that happened, they'd be shocked I tell you... shocked!

    Bit like the licence fee essentially becoming solely for the purpose of the many shoring up a poorly invested pension fund for the few.

    Hope you like Dad's Army.

  • Comment number 81.

    Like oh so many above, I've been a long time Lurker, and thought I'd stick my head up in the hopes our opinions will be counted. Unfortunately, also like those above, I'm not so confident this will happen.
    I don't comment on the blog's because my views are rarely developed enough to contribute to the conversations, but I have read a large number of them, following others reasoning and debates.

    At the line break above, this post has already reached its 400 character limit, and yet I have barely had space to post my view, let alone justify it. Again agreeing with others, when reading the BBC blogs and their comments section, one aims to read articles and letters comparable to those found in a broadsheet, with opinions expressed, options mulled over, and food for thought.
    I must disagree with the consensus on a technicality: the new comments feature is quite good, for what it is. If you are going to limit people to 400 characters, then it becomes a collection of soundbites, and putting them in reverse order seems reasonable to stay 'up to the minute'. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter how good something is if its the wrong thing.
    I would be very interested to know what (if any) market research was conducted to reach the conclusion that such a feature was wanted or required.

  • Comment number 82.

    Coo... looks like one could, if one wished, blitz the thread with a whole raft of munchkin-sized blogs in a kind of brain-deluge spamorama. Nifty.

    Hope no one else twigs such a cunning plan (ok, some have already sussed the pre-post Word .doc prep, divide, cut & paste).

    On a positive note (well, for some, if not the author and masterminds of this #epicfail), I already note some I have been privileged to joust with in times gone by on matters Aunty and her foibles are chiming in.

    And I have to say, even your most ardent fans seem less than thrilled.

    We may not agree, but the right to be able to say so sensibly seems a common... ahem.. 'thread'.

    So on the plus side, a degree of unification has been achieved.

    If, not in a good way, depending who is cheerleading.



  • Comment number 83.

    81. At 18:44pm 12th May 2011, figlesquidge wrote:
    I would be very interested to know what (if any) market research was conducted to reach the conclusion that such a feature was wanted or required.
    -----------------------------------------------

    I have worked with enough marketing and brand people in the past to know that they truly believe that they know best and can set the trends.

    As for market research, it will always be designed to give the commissioners of such research the answers they want. Everyone in PR and marketing knows this secret truth.

  • Comment number 84.

    How many positive feedbacks BBC, one or two and that's it, time to put your hands up and say you've screwed up, yes.

  • Comment number 85.

    Hilarious. I have just been through the 'nu-blogs' by the great and good, giving myself the thumbs up and happily negating the few who have sussed out the same thing (as they will soon do me).

    Even when not equally restricted on character length and approbation, reading the 'we hope you will find..' gritted teeth, Comical Ali intros torn from the living flesh of your reporters/editors, one suspects this is being greeted as welcome as a bucket of, well, you know... something not too welcome.

    'but we are taking note of what you are saying ....'

    Uh-huh. As we've gathered. In the past. Until 'comments get closed'.

    I'll be putting together some responses and will post them here

    Like this guy did?:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/2010/10/new-bbc-editorial-guidelines-l.shtml

  • Comment number 86.

    84. At 19:36pm 12th May 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    "...How many positive feedbacks BBC, one or two and that's it, time to put your hands up and say you've screwed up, yes..."

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    No, no, no. They haven't screwed up at all. I don't think it was ever, for one moment, the BBC's intention to continue to provide a platform for the likes of us to express ourselves in our preferred manner. They have succeeded perfectly in this apparent objective as far as I can see.

    Perhaps matters in the Arab world have alerted them to the possible dangers (as some would see it), of the free propagation of fully expressed ideas.

    A careful deconstruction of the version of reality presented by BBC N&CA is now going to be practically impossible on its own sites.

  • Comment number 87.

    "As for market research, it will always be designed to give ...the answers they want"

    often useless for decision-making indeed :o), because never mind what is found, the company still plans to sell what it has got :o)(plus-minus minor details)

    but it's a capital thing to have a thick pack of "results", charts, conclusions, whatever, somewhere on a shelf or on a flash-card, put aside for a rainy day.
    If you're wrong - with a market research - you are simply wrong.
    If without - you're not only wrong but have also been lax and negligent, not even bothering.
    Additional plus is you can do research on one thing, and take decision ("based on it") - regarding a totally different thing :o)))

  • Comment number 88.

    87. At 20:28pm 12th May 2011, WebAliceinwonderland,

    I could not agree more, all polls are always designed to provide the answer the organisation paying the bill wants, question, do you think the BBC blogs need improving? Answer, of course. Analysis in reality, but how, certainly not like this.

  • Comment number 89.

    Mr Wilson,

    If you persist with this retrograde step (400 character limit), you will ruin the blogs.

    Oh sure, you'll get plenty of dumb opinions, chatter, and snappy one-liners. But serious, informed, well constructed argument - I doubt it.

    I have derived enormous pleasure from reading the blogs of your reporters. The articles have generally been of a very high standard and have consequently encouraged debate and the exchange of opinion. Many, many posters have gained a broader understanding of important issues as a result of their exposure to varied and well-informed discussion. The BBC should be proud of what has been achieved on the blogs.

    Take Robert Peston for example. Just check-out his blogs on Northern Rock and the subsequent financial catastrophe. Do you notice the high number of responses? - some of them are almost essays in their own right. Some of them are of a very high calibre - worthy of any journalist.

    I like to think that I possess an open mind and can embrace change as a prerequisite for advancement. On this occassion however, I must confess to being a Luddite!

    Please reconsider - the blogs (in their unadulterated format) are an important part of many people's lives. These people are your customers - look after them!

    PS: My apologies for exceeding the 400 character limit.

  • Comment number 90.

    69. At 16:40pm 12th May 2011, Smiffie wrote:

    Back the from book a reading tried ever you have?

    Hate the new comments format

    =================================================

    !seY

    Hate the new comments format.

  • Comment number 91.

    Sorry BBC, I've had a look at the new format, and it is abysmal. I will not be playing, that's for sure, and more importantly many incisive and intelligent contributors won't play either, I suspect. I can see no good reason for these changes, unless it is to stifle debate. Shame on you!

  • Comment number 92.

    Self-correction. not the last one :o)
    Entrance fee to blogging platform for overseas visitors - won't pay for moderating them. (even them)
    I have no clue about numbers, q-ty of foreign bloggers here. Let's start low - say, a thousand overseas bloggers eagerly pay 15 dollars for 6 months' -long access to BBC blogs. $15,000. That is salary for 2 for 6 months roughly if the work is done beyond Britain. Now, 2 people will not manage to moderate "1,000 overseas bloggers" :o))) Have no clue re how many shifts a day the moderators work either, but, say, 12 hr-shifts. They also need days' off. There becomes 4 of them, working these 6 months. With a work-load "1,000 wordy overseas bloggers" per 1 moderator at any given time - subscription fee needs to become 30 dollars for 6 months.
    Then there are taxes. And more people employed at money-collection and bother.
    Costs grow to 8 people equivalent - all this is rough and amiss, I'm just trying to figure out the amount in question. Subscription fee becomes 60 dollars for 6 months.
    And still - there is 1 person, practically, at any given time, per "1,000 wordy bloggers".
    Ok I roll up the post it isgetting way tooexpensive! ;O)o))

  • Comment number 93.

    It was the Nick Robinson blog, so beyond an early closing what did one really expect, but it's been a while since I was put on the naughty step and got a'Posts to the BBC website may be removed if they are considered abusive, threatening, harmful, obscene, disablist, homophobic or racially offensive, or disruptive to discussion.'

    Hence I don't recall that final, all-purpose, catch-all plug-puller 'disruptive to discussion', which I presume mine contravened as none of the others applied.

    Maybe it should be reworded slightly to 'even though we pretend to ask for feedback, if it's not what we want to hear, there are always ways to make sure it doesn't appear'.

    Covered in glory, Aunty... covered.

  • Comment number 94.

    Post-moderation must be cheaper a bit? One can skip hiring extra-s to manage "traffic jams"? Anyway this subscription seems to work only when you have a wide base, then it makes sense.
    But on the other hand, still money in, not out?
    Advertising seems to be the only way. We can enter blogs, like through a door, like in video-s case, through watching some advertising - or reading it.
    And I think I am ready to buy a "BBC blogger t-shirt!" :o))))) With a deep feeling of satisfaction, that while I wear it, I can have access to the spacious good old traditional English blogs.
    An old blog tie? :o))))0
    A heart on the sleeve?
    Anything. There must be a solution. After all, museums have their "friends' clubs". Hermitage does may be Metropolitan as well. gift-shops?

  • Comment number 95.

    A BBC blogger re-union party? Hosted by the Editors? Lots of fun - and tickets sold out. 3 events - in Britain, Brussels and somewhere in America. BBC mid-summer party?
    After all, a dinner with Mark Mardell!

  • Comment number 96.

    A thoroughly retrograde step.

    - The 400 character comment limit is pathetically small as others have said.
    - The fact that browsers are unable to autodiscover the RSS feeds is a dreadful oversight. RSS/Atom feeds are a key feature of blogging as we currently know it.
    - The previous platform's RSS feed could have been made to redirect to the new blog saving users having to resubscribe to everything.
    - The lack of full text in the RSS feeds is unforgiveable, and will directly reduce the amount of blog entries I end up reading.

    I also don't like the reverse comment presentation (you might at least have provided a user option to allow this to be changed), and it'd be nice if embedded video and audio clips worked in RSS readers like Google Reader. But frankly, until full text feeds are back, that's a moot point.

  • Comment number 97.

    I am also disappointed that the new blogs no longer give a full text RSS feed, making it more cumbersome to follow the blogs I enjoy. Surely the changes are supposed to bring improvements, not take us back to 2008?

    I read the RSS feeds cross platform, and certainly on my kindle and blackberry the full text feeds are important.

    Please bring them back!

  • Comment number 98.

    Just wanted to say thanks to Giles, for his responses to the concerns raised by the community(!)

    Hate the new comments format.

  • Comment number 99.

    Back now, but for irony had to appreciate this earlier...

    'Sorry, there has been a problem displaying comments, we are working to fix this'

    You know what they say about what shouldn't be done to things that ain't broke...

  • Comment number 100.

    'I'll be putting together some responses and will post them here.'

    No hurry, it all seems to have gone pretty smoothly so far, one is sure you'll think we agree.

 

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